European shares started the final session of the week lower after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell failed to calm investors over rising bond yields.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.95% in early trading, with all major regional bourses in the red.
US and Asian markets fell overnight after Powell said that while the rise in yields was “notable”, he did not consider it “disorderly” or would push long-term rates high enough for the Fed to intervene.
“The markets wanted hints as to what the central bank would do if the situation worsens, and when that didn’t materialise, equities took a hit,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
“That’s fed into a rough European open, confirming whatever rebounding hopes opened the week (and month) have completely disappeared.”
Oil stocks were lower as crude prices jumped to near 14-month highs after OPEC and its allies agreed not to increase supply in April.
Investors were also eyeing US nonfarm jobs numbers later, with Campbell noting that “investors are likely going to be happier with a weaker reading than a strong one; with stimulus incoming, the suggestion of a healthy rebound in the jobs market is only going to stoke those inflation fears”.
“The bad news is that analysts are forecasting the headline nonfarm number to climb from 49,000 to 185,000 month-on-month. The good news is the reading has underperformed estimates in four of the last five months.”
In equity news, shares in London Stock Exchange Group fell 4.47% despite posting steady full-year results for 2020 and announcing a 7% increase in the dividend.
ArGEN-x shares fell 6.6 after the biotech firm missed fourth quarter earnings and revenue estimates.